There are many reasons why you, as a property owner, may find yourself with a vacant structure. Whether it’s because of a renovation or transitioning between tenants, vacant homes can pose significant risks. Some of these risks could be caused by the weather, like flooding, which can happen without much or any warning and cause a lot of damage.

Other risks to which vacant homes are particularly vulnerable include criminal activities. In fact, according to data, there have been 5749 break-ins in the Toronto area in 2021 alone. Of these, a staggering 48.8% have been to residential properties. And if your home is vacant for whatever reason, the risks of a break-in are significantly increased.

So, to avoid your vacant home becoming a target for theft, vandalism, or natural disasters, taking some simple precautions is essential. Read on to learn how to secure your home when it’s vacant.


Buy vacant home insurance

If your home is vacant for extended periods of time, then you might want to consider purchasing a vacant home insurance policy. But do you need vacant home insurance if you already have homeowners’ coverage? Well, if your home is unoccupied for 30 days or more, your insurance company can deny your claim in case of an incident involving your home.  

Before buying vacant home insurance, ask yourself: How long will your home remain unoccupied? Is it located in an area known for a high prevalence of criminal activity? Have you ever had any of your belongings stolen or property broken into in the past?

If you’re worried about break-ins, vacant home insurance is the ideal solution. You can relax knowing that your property is adequately protected even though you aren’t around all the time. Taking every precaution necessary is highly recommended.

Keep security systems on

Don’t forget to check the locks on all windows and doors and set your alarm when you’re leaving your home. Taking a few extra seconds to ensure that all entry points are secure is an essential part of protecting your property. Pay special attention to windows and any doors that open into garages or other access points. Taking such precautions will ensure the highest security level possible for your vacant home.

Install motion detector lights

Having motion sensor lights installed outside your home is a great way to make sure it is secure. They can scare away any potential thieves since anyone trying to break in will be automatically exposed under a bright spotlight.

It is highly suggested that you do not wait until you move to have them installed for added safety. Motion-activated exterior lights are great for property safety and security. Installing them near your garage doors, front doors, windows, and sides of the house can give you peace of mind. Don’t forget to also install them in your backyard for maximum coverage.

Regularly maintain your home

Regularly maintaining your home is extremely important, both for those who prefer to get their hands dirty and for those who opt to hire professional services. Ignoring these routine tasks can have dire consequences in the long run. 

Moreover, it helps in identifying issues so they can be fixed before they become bigger problems. Keep the property clean and well-maintained as properties are more likely to be targeted if look abandoned. 

Check utilities

Keeping a property vacant for an extended period of time can be risky. One way to manage the risk is by turning off the utilities. Not only can this prevent a catastrophic fire, but it also protects against water damage should any pipes burst or leak.

In winter, it is best to keep the heating on so that temperatures do not drop below 15°C, which could lead to frozen pipes and possible bursts. Keeping the space warm helps limit any potential damages caused by frozen pipes.

Advertise carefully

Placing a sale sign on a vacant home is a great way to draw attention to the property and potentially speed up its sale, however, it can unfortunately also make it a prime target for burglars. It is important to understand the potential risk associated with this marketing technique before implementing it.

When advertising the property online, it is essential to be mindful of any pictures you include in the listing. It is best not to post pictures of any valuable items inside the house, as this could attract the attention of thieves and make it more likely that they will break in.



Vacating a home for whatever reason can lead to risks, including weather-related events, burglary, or vandalism. Taking the necessary steps to protect your home is essential when you are no longer living in it, as leaving it unoccupied and unprotected can be an invitation for thieves, vandals, and other unwanted intruders. Security cameras and well-maintained yards can help deter any potential burglars or intruders.

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